Recognizing an operational need to dominate the electromagnetic spectrum, U.S. Air Combat Command activated the 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing June 25, which is temporarily located at Eglin Air Force Base while the Air Force conducts an environmental review for the permanent location. A first of its kind, the 350th SWW will enable, equip and optimize fielding capabilities to give the U.S. and its allies a sustainable, competitive advantage over adversaries in the electromagnetic spectrum. The new wing will provide maintenance, operational, and technical expertise for electronic warfare in support of the Combat Air Forces.
“The competition in the electromagnetic spectrum is more important than ever before. The Joint Force is connected by and delivers effects in and through the EMS,” said Col William Young, 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing commander. “If we lose the fight in the EMS, we will lose the fights in all other domains. We’re here to help make sure that doesn’t happen. Standing up this unit emphasizes the Air Force’s commitment to consolidating and modernizing our entire enterprise so that joint warfighters have freedom to attack, maneuver and protect themselves at the time, place and parameters of our choosing.”
The EMS is a sovereign national resource that exists as part of an intangible world, yet manifests itself though everyday items. The EMS includes everything from radio waves to visible light and affects almost every aspect of life from personal cellular phones and Wi-Fi to advanced technology used in military applications. The EMS as a warfighting battlespace is not a new concept, but according to Young, advances in technology have created a critical need for Airmen to better understand their role within this intangible domain.
The standup also ensures all Air Force electronic warfare and EMS capabilities are consolidated at one location. The 53rd Electronic Warfare Group will move from the 53rd Wing to the 350th SWW. In order to remain competitive and in line with the National Defense Strategy, the 350th SWW will help the Air Force rethink its EW capabilities and plan for future requirements. Over time, the wing will mature, evolve, and expand its EMS capabilities to providing spectrum warfare capabilities. The Air Force will conduct further environmental analysis before making a final basing decision for the wing’s permanent location, expected in spring 2022.
The 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing consists of two Groups: 350th Spectrum Warfare Group and 850th Spectrum Warfare Group. The wing manages the Air Force COMBAT SHIELD Electronic Warfare Assessment Program for CAF aircraft EW systems. The 350th Spectrum Warfare Group has the equivalent of five squadrons: 16th Electronic Warfare Squadron, 36th Electronic Warfare Squadron, 68th Electronic Warfare Squadron, 513th Electronic Warfare Squadron, and F-35 Partner Support Complex. The 850th Spectrum Warfare Group has three squadrons: 39th Electronic Warfare Squadron, 87th Electronic Warfare Squadron, and 453d Electronic Warfare Squadron.
The 350th Spectrum Warfare Wing was activated 25 June 2021 to support the consolidation and modernization of the Department of the Air Force electromagnetic spectrum enterprise and is responsible for providing operational, technical, and maintenance electronic warfare expertise for the CAF and for systems engineering, testing, evaluation, tactics development, employment, capability, and technology assessment. This includes the wartime responsibility for emergency reprogramming and dissemination of EW system mission data software for CAF aircraft.